With Friday's posting of Tim Murphy's House Candidate Called Female Senators "Undeserving Bimbos in Tennis Shoes" at Mother Jones, the news of Minnesota First Congressional District Republican candidate Jim Hagedorn's defunct "Mr. Conservative" blog has gone viral.
Hagedorn defeated the Republican Party of Minnesota's endorsed candidate, Aaron Miller, in the August 12 primary and now faces national scrutiny as a candidate.
But this isn't "Mr. Conservative's" first rodeo, since Hagedorn experienced a similar though more localized reaction in 2009 when the blog was first discovered by Bluestem Prairie and other media during the candidate's first bid to run for Congress in the Fighting First.
A review of 2014 and 2009 coverage shows that Hagedorn's reaction to dismay about the blog's content hasn't changed much: he still thinks he's a satirist, a funny guy.
Star Tribune: Hagedorn defends old blog posts
In GOP U.S. House hopeful Jim Hagedorn defends old blog posts now under fire, Star Tribune staff writer Ricardo Lopez reports:
A businessman, Hagedorn defended his off-the-cuff opinions as humorous and satirical in nature, saying he criticized politicians of all stripes, not just Democrats. The posts were written between 2002 and 2008 on a now-defunct blog titled “Mr. Conservative.” The writings were first reported by politics blog Bluestem Prairie and later picked up by Mother Jones, a liberal news site.
“Over the years, I wrote political commentary … and poked fun at national politicians,” Hagedorn said. “This is old stuff that’s been out there” for years, he said.
Asked whether he owed voters an apology for his crude and strong language, he said he did not.
It's true that the stuff has been out there for years, though Bluestem isn't sure why aging Hagedorn racist, sexist and homophobic cheese improves the favor since we first posted about it in October 2009.
And the 2014 defense is cut from the same block as the 2009 justifications, when the story didn't go viral nationally because the former lobbyists and Treasury department employee was just one of several candidates seeking to challenge Walz in 2010.
Republican activists endorsed state representative Randy Demmer that 2010; the genial Hayfield conservative came as close as anyone to defeating Walz.
Hagedorn's 2009 defense of posts
After building speculation for several months, the former Washington insider and (at that time) director of government relations and corporate development for Eltromed offically announced his first bid for Congress on Decomber 2, 2009, as Heather Carlson at the Rochester Post Bulletin reported at the Political Notebook.
The next day, Carlson reported that Hagedorn's posts became an issue in the district and state press when he deleted some of his posts. She writes in Hagedorn scrubs blog posts:
Minnesota bloggers have discovered that 1st Congressional District Republican candidate Jim Hagedorn appears to have sanitized his blog "Mr. Conservative" in advance of his announcement yesterday that he is running. Bluestem Prairie notes that it appears all entries prior to 2004 have been scrubbed.
A Bluestem Prairie blog post from October includes some of these deleted posts. The Minnesota Independent also has a story about the removed posts that mocked Wellstone mourners and Rod Grams' infidelities. . . .
The rest of the post includes some of Hagedorn's text about the Wellstone mourners and the often-repeated content where Hagedorn writes about Native American voters: "many of the voters registered for absentee ballots were found to be chiefs and squaws who had returned to the spirit world many moons ago," concluding that:
Voter backlash against the Democrat’s (typical) election-stealing maneuvers will be the margin of victory for Thune. Leave it to liberals to ruin John Wayne’s* wisdom of the only good Indian being a dead Indian."
In addition to scrubbing the offensive material, Hagedorn's response to the criticism mirrored his current defense that he's just a funny guy.
In a later story published on December 5, 2009, POL Democrats say Hagedorn blog entries are offensive, Carlson reported:
But Hagedorn said he removed the posts prior to 2004 only because they were outdated. He said he was writing the blog as a political satirist and it is not meant to be offensive.
Hagedorn is government relations director for Electromed Inc., based in New Prague, Minn. His father Tom Hagedorn is a former Republican congressman who represented southern Minnesota.
‘I poke fun at everybody’
“I understand that some of the folks on the left aren’t going to like what I write," he said. “I poke fun at everybody, including Republicans."
Apparently, nonpartisan racism, sexism and homophobia is a a-okay in Jim Hagedorn's world. Carlson turned to Carleton College political scientist Steven Schier who thought that if Al Franken could get elected after working as a comedian on SNL and writing a book called ‘Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot," that Hagedorn might not have a problem.
However, he did disagree with Hagedorn's assessment that there's nothing here to explain to voters. Carlson reports:
He did say that Hagedorn’s comments regarding Indians and female Supreme Court justices is “pretty insensitive" and that he does owe voters’ an explanation.
Given that this material was an issue in the 2010 endorsement process, Bluestem is curious whether Republican activists like state party treasurer Bron Scherer anticipated the blow-up in the national media. Or did they simply not see it as an issue?
Photo: Hagedorn campaiging Saturday at the Le Sueur County Pioneer Power Association's tractor and snowmobile show. Via Facebook.
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